ISC WEST PREVIEW – Dealers Leaving for Las Vegas

One word that will not be used to describe this year’s International Security Conference (ISC) West is “small.”

With the continuing growth of the electronic security industry, the ISC West show has been bursting at the seams. Rather than worrying if the walls of the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas can contain it, the organizers of the 37th ISC West have removed one wall entirely.

For the first time, ISC West will encompass all of the exhibit space at the Sands convention hall when it takes place from April 6 to 8. The annual gathering of security dealers, integrators and professionals is now larger in floor space than the fall ASIS Expo, long considered the largest security show of the year.

When show attendees hear the word “larger,” their task of trying to visit as many booths as possible seems even more daunting. Longtime ISC West attendee Michael Jagger — president of Provident Security in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada — says that makes it more important to create a plan of attack before the bags are packed for Las Vegas.

“If you’re trying to get something out of it, it could be overwhelming,” Jagger says. “You can’t just walk the aisles and hope to stumble onto something.”

Size isn’t the only thing that will be setting records at this year’s ISC West, as the number of attendees and exhibitors is expected to shatter the previous ISC West highs. Among the highlights will be the debut of scores of new products and the 10th edition of the SAMMY awards. Away from the show floor, seminars, conferences and other events will divert the attention of attendees, and Las Vegas offers several ways to work in some playtime.

The Big Get Bigger: Record Year Expected for Annual Security Show
At 230,000 square feet, the 2005 ISC West show will be 14-percent larger than it was last year. That makes it bigger than last September’s ASIS Int’l Seminar and Exhibits in Dallas, which encompassed 220,450 square feet.

The main hall of the Sands Expo Center, which will be hosting its third straight ISC West, will be filled to capacity. According to show organizer Reed Exhibitions, ISC West is 100-percent sold out for exhibit space for the first time in its 37-year history. With the main hall growing unable to contain the show, 2005 may be the last time showgoers go to one hall to see the exhibits.

“We’re going to max out the hall that we’re in,” says Dean Russo, industry vice president for Reed, which is organizing the show with the Security Industry Association (SIA). “What we’re looking to do for 2006 is we’re going to be staying in the same venue, the Sands, but it looks like we’re going to be expanding into an additional hall.”

Being as that there will be more space, there will also be more people. Last year’s industry attendance of 19,439 set an ISC record, and Russo expects this year’s attendance to go well above 20,000. More than 800 companies — 100 more than last year’s total — will be exhibiting in 2005, including 105 that are either new to the show or didn’t exhibit last year.

With more than 30 years in the industry, Steve Roth has seen his share of security shows. The man who helped build up ADI and now helms Tri-Ed Distribution (see “Industry Pulse: In Depth”) says the growth of ISC West reflects the growth of the industry. “It speaks to the overall demand in this industry for the products and the service that are required,” Roth says.

Attendees Get More Out of ISC by Planning Out Their Visit
With more booths and more companies vying for the attention of dealers and integrators, it becomes important for ISC West attendees to plan out their days at the show.

The hours for this year’s show will be the same as last year’s: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the first two days (April 6 and 7) and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the final day (April 8). Doing a little math, that gives attendees 19 hours. Even if each booth visit was limited to five minutes, it would take a little under 67 hours to visit every booth!

Take away the time devoted to meetings and educational sessions, let alone lunch, and the time available to sample the exhibits becomes even less.

Past ISC West attendees like James Orvis, president of Security Solutions Inc. of Norwalk, Conn., advise that a person needs to go into ISC West with an idea of what they want to get out of it and how that can be accomplished (see planning tips box on page 74 of March issue).

Attendees should know in advance which vendors serve their needs and decide whether they want to just get acquainted with that exhibitor or talk about a purchase.

“I review the vendors that I currently use and take note of the ones I need to see. I make appointments with some in advance,” says Orvis, a member of SSI’s Editorial Advisory Board. “Determine how much time you’ll need or whether you need to just say ‘hi.’”

Attendees can also think of ISC West as a “one-stop shop.” Rather than using up the travel budget or phone bill to converse with different manufacturers, dealers and integrators can find most of them on the ISC West show floor. “The value of a show is if you had three or four potential vendors, you have the opportunity to get them in one place,” Jagger says.

Repeat attendees talk of the new companies they see come and go each year. While some rookie companies may have an innovative new product, Orvis says he usually passes on first-year companies. “If I don’t know their product and I haven’t read something in the trade journals or something doesn’t catch my eye, I don’t stop,” Orvis says. “You can’t. There are only so many hours in the day.”

A very useful tool for an attendee to lay out their plan of attack before they head to Vegas is the show’s official Web site: www.iscwest.com. The site contains complete listings of exhibitors, floor maps and schedules of events and educational sessions. It also has contact information to contact vendors before the show to let them know you’re coming.

SAMMY Awards Mark Decade of Honoring Best Dealers, Integrators
The night before the start of ISC West, the 10th Annual SAMMY Awards will mark a decade of honoring the best installations, marketing initiatives and sales pieces in the electronic security industry.

Security Sales & Integration’s Sales and Marketing Awards will be given out at 4:30 on April 5. The free ceremony, in the Venetian’s Casanova Conference Room 601, is open to all security professionals, and free hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be provided.

Russo says the SAMMYs are quickly becoming an important part of the ISC West festivities. “Every year, I think it gains more exposure and more people. It’s just another component that makes the event what it is,” he says. “The dealer-installer segment is the core audience of the ISC show going back to its origins 30 years ago. The more events like the SAMMYs that recognize that group that we can have involved in the show, the better.”

Access www.thesammyawards.com for the list of finalists for the 2005 SAMMYs and more information.

Highlights Include Product Debuts, McCaffrey, NBFAA Conference
Among the companies exhibiting their wares, expect a new look for access control manufacturer HID Corp., which is constructing a b
rand new show booth that will debut at ISC West. Honeywell Power Products will exhibit at ISC West for the first time alongside its sister companies from Honeywell.

Among the companies with a big new product push at this year’s show will be Bosch Security Systems, GE, Samsung and Pelco. The New Product Showcase (NPS), sponsored by SIA, will be the place on the ISC show floor to get a look at the newest products (see sidebar on page 74).

Attendees can also stop by the Security Sales & Integration exhibit – Booth No. 23134 – to be among the first to get a free advance copy of the special April at-show issue, as well as to greet some of the SSI staff.

Organizers are quick to point out that ISC West is more than just exhibits. Continuing a yearly trend, the conference and educational session portion of the show has been expanded again with a greater emphasis on accreditation.

For the first time, those who attend educational sessions will be eligible for continuing education units (CEUs) from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). For each hour of training, 1 CEU will be awarded. The courses can also be credited toward units in the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s (NBFAA) National Training School (NTS).

“I think [accreditation] is a positive thing, and I think it will open up the program to more possible attendees,” Russo says.

The opening of the show will be marked by the 7th Annual Industry Summit, which will feature the keynote address of ISC West by decorated U.S. general and homeland security expert Barry McCaffrey. The military analyst for NBC News, who once led the war on drugs and commanded troops in Desert Storm, will speak on the war on terror at 8:30 a.m. on April 6.

There are also several reasons to get outside the convention hall, including all the entertainment Las Vegas has to offer (see box above).

Running before and concurrently with ISC West will be the NBFAA’s Annual Spring Conference. The April 3 to April 7 conference will also feature the second annual golf tournament to raise funds for the Alarm Industry Research and Education Foundation (AIREF) on April 5, as well as conference meetings, an awards dinner and other events to bring NBFAA members together.

“This is the one opportunity our members have to get face to face with each other, says NBFAA Executive Director Merlin Guilbeau. “A lot of topics will be discussed, ranging from state licensing to federal bills, VoIP [voice over Internet protocol] and alarm response.”

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